United Stars (Chapter Nine)
Word-Count: 997 Content Warnings: ??? Written: 2017?? Last Edit: ???
Rainstar collapsed in the shade of the metallic container. For the last part of the journey back to the Behemoth's Bones, she had carried little Shellpaw. The apprentice had fought boldly against the monster cats, and the injury she sustained on her paw left her unable to keep up the pace.
It was not just the leader of Lostclan who was exhausted. The entire, lonely clan was worn down. Their tongues hung out as they panted, desperate to regain a cool breath. Rainstar rolled on her side in the sand.
Her blue eyes looked to find Crystalsight. The medicine cat had battled just as hard as the rest of the clan in the attack, but unlike the others, had no time to rest even now. She paced around the make-shift camp, gathering cobwebs from the darkest corners, to press into her clan's wounds. The white, lustrous she-cat was even offering some of the more sickly cats some kind of chewed up root.
When had she had time to find herbs? Rainstar thought. Crystalsight must have been searching for them with Foxflight while she was at the Everpool. She had never thought about the new territory in the eyes of a medicine cat. What herbs did the Drylands even have...? A smile crept through Rainstar's lips. She was so proud of Crystalsight, who had kept calm and steadfast throughout this ordeal. She was an amazing cat...
"Rainstar," a voice wheezed. The gray-and-white leader adjusted her hazed vision to see the pale ginger form of Crabclaw. "Rainstar, did you share tongues with Starclan? What did they say...?"
All the cats of the clan turned their gaze toward her. Even Wavecrash, the reluctant deputy, looked at Rainstar with some sense of hope.
Rainstar searched her mind. Her trip to the Everpool seemed so long ago, even though it was only this morning. What did they say...? Did she even go? What is an Everpool? Lots of water...
Rainstar's eyes darted at the faces of the clan...her clan. They needed her, but the water... the water was rising... A chilly, damp coldness rose through Rainstar's fur.
The bright, pale lines of the moon flashed before her. The water was gone. Rainstar didn't feel like she ever heard a voice, but a memory of Flickerstar was in her mind. "This is not where you need to be right now," Flickerstar's voice had said, sometime.
Rainstar could see the clan again, waiting for her response. The words flew out of her mouth, "We are a clan of tremendous power."
The cats narrowed their eyes in confusion. They certainly didn't feel like a clan of tremendous power right now.
"No longer Tideclan... not a clan the world has ever seen before..." Rainstar remembered the message of Flickerstar as she spoke. "But...the Drylands, there will never be enough water....to was away the blood."
"What does that mean?" Wavecrash called. "Not enough water...that's for sure.... would water stop those, those monsters...?"
Rainstar blinked. It did not seem likely that those unnatural beasts could be stopped with simply water... though she had certainly never seen anything like them in the Coastlands, where water was plentiful.
"This is not where you need to be right now," Flickerstar's voice echoed.
"...We can not survive here." Rainstar declared. Slowly, painfully, she pulled herself up. "We... have to leave the Drylands."
Crystalsight gasped. Her eyes, usually so calm, began to dart about. Wavecrash snorted. "That... that's what I've been saying."
"I'm sorry..." Rainstar curled her tail around her body. "This was my mistake."
"Why would Starclan have sent us here, if we are just supposed to leave?" Crystalsight called out. Her voice had the sharp edge of unexpected pain.
Rainstar searched for answers. Had this entire journey been simply the mistake of Rainstar's leadership? Somehow, that didn't seem right. There had to have been purpose. However, Flickerstar's message was clear- this is not where you need to be right now.
Crystalsight shook her head. "Where should we go?"
A gust of foul scent blasted across Lostclan. For those who could manage, their claws unsheathed and their fur prickled. This was the scent of the Sunscorched. They were not safe.
Foxflight bellowed from outside the Behemoth's Bones. "Run! Run!" He tumbled inside of the container. "Run! You have to get up!"
"The monsters found us again?" Pebblepaw wondered in horror.
"No, not just the monsters... the clans, all four clans... they're coming to kill you!" Foxflight hissed.
Crabclaw closed his eyes. His voice was full of a humor his body didn't reflect. "You have got to be kidding me."
Rainstar could feel her chest pounding- with confidence or fear, she could not tell. "Let them come," she said solemnly "We will prove ourselves, again."
Crystalsight pushed her side against Rainstar's fur. The gestured filled Rainstar with electrifying power and hope. Crystalsight nodded at her, and then the weak clan as they began to rise back to their paws. "We will fight, together."
"Let me join you," Foxflight blurted out. "There is no place left for me in Dustclan," the orange-and-white cat hung his head, "I failed the ones who needed me. The only cats left are loyal to Snakeskin...." His voice trailed off.
Rainstar adjusted her footing. "Why should we let a failed medicine cat join us?"
Crystalsight nudged Rainstar, her sad face reminding the leader of the clan's great need. "He has helped us," Crystalsight whispered.
Rainstar swallowed. She knew she had no real reason to reject the help of Foxflight, other than her own strange dislike of the cat.
"Fine..." Rainstar turned to Foxflight. "You are part of our clan."
"Tideclan?" Foxflight asked.
"No." Rainstar responded. "We are a new clan now...one of a new, tremendous power."
"Really now? I'd like to see this power." Snakeskin sneered as he padded slowly into their view. Behind him, were cats of all four clans, so covered in blood and the scent of the Sunscorched it was near impossible to differentiate them.